the designer says

July 11, 2013 § Leave a comment


I do love my Kindle, but I don’t love it more than a hard cover, cloth bound book with smart words and thoughtful typography. Add rounded corners and a ribbon bookmark and I am a goner. The Designer Says| Quotes, Quips, and Words of Wisdom, edited by Sara Bader is making me very happy these days. Some of my favorites:

Every typeface wants to know: “Do I look fat in this paragraph?” -Ellen Lupton


If your words aren’t truthful, the finest optically letter-spaced typography won’t help. -Edward Tufte


The story of how I decided to become an artist is this: When I was a very little boy, a cousin of mine came to my house with a paper bag. He asked me if I wanted to see a bird. I thought he had a bird in the bag. He stuck his hand in the bag, and I realized that he had drawn a bird inside the bag with a pencil. I was astonished! I perceived this as being miraculous. At that moment, I decided that was what I wanted to do with my life. Create miracles. -Milton Glaser


Read. Travel. Read. Ask. Read. Learn. Read. Connect. Read. -Erik Speikermann


The nature of process, to one degree or another, involves failure. You have at it. It doesn’t work. You keep pushing. It gets better. But it’s not good. It gets worse. You go at it again. Then you desperately stab at it, believing “this isn’t going to work.” And it does!-Saul Bass


The brain is the most democratic tool that all artists and designers share. -Daniel Eatock


There are ten, maybe fifteen very good typefaces, which I can agree with at least. There are 30,000 on the market, of which 29,990 can be sunk into the Pacific Ocean without causing any cultural damage. -Kurt Wiedemann


Design is a way of looking at the world. You produce an artifact or create a system with a set of conditions, an infrastructure or an apparatus where you’ve done half the equation and you leave the rest for whoever wants to participate. -Lucille Tenazas


Take things away until you cry.-Frank Chimero


Everything hangs on something else.-Ray Eames



peace, love and summer reading | 2013

June 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

We’ve been designing studio summer reading lists since 1997, give or take a few years. Not only do they remind us that there is something else to do with our time than watch baseball, they serve as a studio archeological dig of who, when, what and where. The why requires a beer, or at least a nap in the hammock. What are you reading this summer?


the bicycle headbadge

May 10, 2013 § 1 Comment

Yup, that’s what it’s called, the headbadge. You know, that cool shield that is on the front of cool bikes? Last week I was pondering these as a concept for a client logo (non-bicycle related) and did some research. I wish I weren’t collected-out (still haven’t hung the girl super hero dolls in the new studio), or else I’d start searching for these. Until then, the photos. And, if you’d like to learn more, here’s a nice overview on the history of headbadges from Bicycling. By the way, May is still National Bicycling Month.

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I found most of these on Pinterest, and don’t have their sources. If one of these photos belongs to you, let me know so I can credit you.

chicago | a city dressed in layers

April 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

We just returned from a 10-day trip to Chicago to visit Kate, see art and architecture and eat delicious food (and oh boy, did we). One thought kept coming to me as we wandered around public sculptures, through the Art Institute, around downtown, on the fabulous architectural boat tour, through Frank Lloyd Wright’s home, studio and neighborhood, and the Botanic Garden…this is a city dressed in layers. Kate reminded me that the proper term is thickening (which was happening to us after every meal). In April Chicago was missing the bright spring colors we have in northern California, but it made up for it in a festival of layers and texture (and food, did I mention the food yet?).

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the reconstructionists

April 17, 2013 § 1 Comment

Oh wow. Loving this project, a collaboration of writer Maria Popova, curator of BrainPickings, and artist Lisa Congdon, titled The Reconstructionists — a yearlong celebration of remarkable women across art, science, and literature, both famous and esoteric, who have changed the way we define ourselves as a culture and live our lives as individuals of any gender. Each Monday we are (re)introduced to a new portrait and narrative, and a little bit of inspiration. I so thrilled to witness  a great idea,  a perfect collaboration, and a commitment to carry it out. Wow and thank you.

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inspired by the bag tag

April 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

UK-based illustrator and designer Neil Stevens has created a series of beautiful minimalist posters inspired by old airline baggage tags. Featuring the iconic three-letter abbreviations of cities, Stevens reworked the typography and unique details to created some really fabulous text-based prints. I’ll take London, please.

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and a pony, too

April 11, 2013 § Leave a comment


My daughter, Kate, posted this on Pinterest for me. Oh my goodness….truth, truth, truth.

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